Sonoma: Todd Bodine preview

Discover® Card Racing hitting the road... course. NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Todd Bodine and the No. 26 HAAS CARTER Motorsports Team are hitting the road by making a stop at the first road course race of 2002 at Sears Point Raceway this...

Discover® Card Racing hitting the road... course.

NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Todd Bodine and the No. 26 HAAS CARTER Motorsports Team are hitting the road by making a stop at the first road course race of 2002 at Sears Point Raceway this Sunday. While most NASCAR drivers will tell you they despise this type of racing, the driver of the Discover® Card Ford is not one of them.

"I love road courses," said Bodine. "It's a nice challenge for us coming off of 15-straight oval tracks. What's challenging for us is passing. Last year they made some changes in the configuration to make it more fan-friendly as well as providing us with more places to gain track position. However, it's still hard to pass. For me, it is simply a fun place to drive."

On June 11, the Discover Card crew tested at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C., to prepare for this weekend. For Bodine, the extra seat time at the 14 turn; 2.235-mile course was well worth it."Even though Kershaw and Sears Point are not strong resemblances of each other, any time you can practice on a road course is invaluable. In the past, we have been able to transfer information we have gathered at Kershaw and apply it to Sears Point. Where we were strong in testing, we were strong right off the truck. So for this team, testing has really benefited us and I don't see why it won't be the same way this time around."

Plus, the pit stop will have more emphasis placed on it this weekend. That's because a fast stop allows for the most significant gains on the track. According to rear tire changer Billy Curwood,"We try not to put more pressure on ourselves going into Sears Point. It's business as usual-- no mistakes. If you can beat your competitors on pit road, you can count on being a head of them when you go back out on the track. Last year they had two areas on the course to pit. The main pit road and the place we called,' Gilligan's Island'. Thankfully, they got rid of the island and made one pit road. Before, it didn't matter how fast of a car you had. If you were on the island and entered the pits under caution in first place, when you left, you were at least in 15th position. Track officials have made a big improvement for us this year. I have to commend them for that."

"The key to this place," added Bodine, "Is to be smooth. Believe it or not, you can't be fast in all the corners. You just have to be smooth and make no mistakes. Each corner is as important as the last one. That's probably what frustrates most drivers. It's unforgiving."

RACE INFORMATION:
Sears Point Raceway
Sonoma, Cal.
Dodge/Save Mart 350
Race No: 16 of 36
Date: June 23, 2002
TV: FOX
Radio: PRN
Internet: NASCAR.com

-h/cm-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Todd Bodine